Former Mexican Governor on the Run

After more than six months on the run, a former Mexican governor, Javier Duarte, was detained in Guatemala.

Duarte is suspected of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from programs for the poor, according to the Attorney General of Mexico’s office.

According to CNN, Duarte is currently being held by Guatemala authorities while the Mexican government formally requests his extradition to Mexico.

A Mexican judge had issued an arrest warrant against him in October, and he is facing money laundering and organized crime charges.

After stepping down from office in October, Duarte vowed to fight the mounting corruption allegations that unraveled his tenure, according to NPR.

“The circumstances created by false accusations…force me to dedicate myself full-time to clean my name and that of my family,” Duarte said on Oct. 18, according to The Yucatan Times.

After this, he disappeared. The government had frozen all accounts that he controlled prior to him leaving office, as they became suspicious. He was found attempting to pass as a tourist in a hotel room with his wife on Saturday night at a lakeside resort in Guatemala.

According to Al Jazeera, in January, authorities got two companies to return $19.3 million obtained illegally from the Duarte government. A month later, authorities seized a warehouse full of Duarte’s artwork, antiques and personal journals. They also found luxurious saddles, silverware sets, ostentatious furniture, school supplies and ever wheelchairs – presumably owned by the government.

Investigators found a set of documents linking the ex-governor’s wife, Karime Macías de Duarte, to the preparation and execution of actions to divert public resources for the personal benefit of some accomplices, further proving the corruption in Duarte’s term.

Duarte has brought shame to his political party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The PRI applauded Duarte’s arrest in a statement published on the party’s website Saturday, according to CNN.

“We demand federal authorities to recover the money and goods from illicit activities and fully repay the people of Veracruz,” the statement read.

Leading up to his arrest, the Mexican government was offering about $810,000 for information leading to his arrest.

The Los Angeles Times reported that in a country of 31 states and one federal district, nearly a dozen governors recently out of office are on the run, under investigation or already in prison.

 

Photo courtesy of The New York Times.

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